Over three thousand Barnet children will be without a permanent home this Christmas according to the Council's latest homelessness figures.
2,820 children are classified as living in long term temporary accommodation, and a further 281 children are in emergency temporary accommodation. The children in emergency accommodation have been there for an average of 47 weeks.
The figures were revealed in response to a question raised by Cllr Ross Houston - the Barnet Labour Group's Deputy Leader and Housing Spokesperson - at this week's Full Council meeting (12 December).
The total cost of temporary accommodation in Barnet was £24 million in 2016/17. Eighty four per cent (£20.14m) of this was "recoverable through housing benefit" according to the Council.
Barnet has the 6th highest number of families in temporary accommodation in the country, but the Conservative-run Council has consistently failed to get a good deal on affordable homes from the significant amount of development taking place in the borough.
Of the 1,799 net additional homes Barnet delivered in 2016/17 Government figures show only 320 or 17.7% were affordable homes against a target of 40%.
In 2015/16 only 128 or 8.7% affordable homes of 1,458 were delivered.
Going forward, the Council expects only 4.84% or 112 affordable homes to be delivered in 2017/18 of 2,313 total new homes.
Barnet Council will also lose 827 social rented homes through the 'regeneration' of its four large council estates.
If they take control of Barnet Council in next year's local elections, the Labour group of councillors have pledged to build at least 800 additional council homes to replace those lost through the regeneration schemes.
They will also introduce a much tougher overall target that 50% of new homes will be affordable on future developments in Barnet. The current Barnet Council target is 40%.
Labour Group Housing Spokesperson and Deputy Leader, Cllr Ross Houston said:
“Behind these homelessness figures there are 3,101 stories of human misery.
"It is disgraceful that so many children are without a permanent home, and are living long term in temporary accommodation.
"The most sustainable way to tackle homelessness is to dramatically increase the supply of genuinely affordable homes, and this will be a priority for a Labour Council in Barnet."
Cllr Houston's Council questions on temporary accommodation can be found here (Q15 on p9 and Q64 on p25): http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/b30025/Questions%20to%20the%20Leader%2012th-Dec-2017%2019.00%20Council.pdf?T=9
For Government figures on affordable housing in Barnet see Table 1011 - additional affordable housing supply, detailed breakdown by local authority: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-affordable-housing-supply
For more from Barnet Labour on the loss of social rented homes through regeneration schemes: http://www.barnetlabour.org.uk/827_council_homes_to_be_lost_in_estate_regenerations
For more information contact:
Cllr Ross Houston: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568